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Most Canadians now backing US-style elected judgeships: poll

[JURIST] Nearly two-thirds of Canadians support having judges elected to the bench, the Globe and Mail reported Monday. According to a poll conducted by Globe and CTV, 63 percent of the respondents favored electing judges, with 24 percent strongly endorsing the idea. Support for the idea was strongest in the predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec. The poll result comes as a surprise to most Canadian legal scholars, as many view American-style judicial election processes negatively. Ontario Chief Justice Roy McMurty [official profile] told the Globe that he questions the ability of judges to remain impartial under an elected system, saying judges could be pressured into imposing popular but unjust sentences.

The same poll found that a majority of Canadians - some 53 percent - think that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text] with its enumerated and judicially-enforced US-style guarantees of personal freedoms - has had a positive effect on the country since its adoption in 1982. US-style legal structures and procedures have gained increasingly popularity in Canada in the last 50 years, a trend that has arguably accelerated in the late 25, partly under the impetus of the Charter itself. CTV News has more.

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